Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Appears in Collections:Psychology Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: The influence of social structure, habitat, and host traits on the transmission of Escherichia coli in wild elephants
Authors: Chiyo, Patrick
Grieneisen, Laura
Wittemyer, George
Moss, Cynthia J
Lee, Phyllis C
Douglas-Hamilton, Iain
Archie, Elizabeth A
Contact Email:
Issue Date: Apr-2014
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Citation: Chiyo P, Grieneisen L, Wittemyer G, Moss CJ, Lee PC, Douglas-Hamilton I & Archie EA (2014) The influence of social structure, habitat, and host traits on the transmission of Escherichia coli in wild elephants, PLoS ONE, 9 (4), Art. No.: e93408.
Abstract: Social structure is proposed to influence the transmission of both directly and environmentally transmitted infectious agents. However in natural populations, many other factors also influence transmission, including variation in individual susceptibility and aspects of the environment that promote or inhibit exposure to infection. We used a population genetic approach to investigate the effects of social structure, environment, and host traits on the transmission of Escherichia coli infecting two populations of wild elephants: one in Amboseli National Park and another in Samburu National Reserve, Kenya. If E. coli transmission is strongly influenced by elephant social structure, E. coli infecting elephants from the same social group should be genetically more similar than E. coli sampled from members of different social groups. However, we found no support for this prediction. Instead, E. coli was panmictic across social groups, and transmission patterns were largely dominated by habitat and host traits. For instance, habitat overlap between elephant social groups predicted E. coli genetic similarity, but only in the relatively drier habitat of Samburu, and not in Amboseli, where the habitat contains large, permanent swamps. In terms of host traits, adult males were infected with more diverse haplotypes, and males were slightly more likely to harbor strains with higher pathogenic potential, as compared to adult females. In addition, elephants from similar birth cohorts were infected with genetically more similar E. coli than elephants more disparate in age. This age-structured transmission may be driven by temporal shifts in genetic structure of E. coli in the environment and the effects of age on bacterial colonization. Together, our results support the idea that, in elephants, social structure often will not exhibit strong effects on the transmission of generalist, fecal-oral transmitted bacteria. We discuss our results in the context of social, environmental, and host-related factors that influence transmission patterns.
Type: Journal Article
DOI Link:
Rights: © 2014 Chiyo et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Affiliation: Duke University
University of Notre Dame
Colorado State University
Amboseli Trust for Elephants
Save The Elephants
University of Notre Dame

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Chiyo et al e coli_journal.pone.0093408.pdf547.64 kBAdobe PDFView/Open

This item is protected by original copyright

Items in the Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.

If you believe that any material held in STORRE infringes copyright, please contact providing details and we will remove the Work from public display in STORRE and investigate your claim.